Many health professionals have debated about the health benefits of red wine in recent years. Most of them believe that a glass of wine is a valuable part of a healthy diet.
Studies have repeatedly proven that moderate consumption of red wine helps reduce the risk of numerous diseases, including heart diseases. However, keep in mind that there is a fine line between moderate and excessive consumption. This article will provide an in-depth information about red wine and its health-boosting properties.
- The French Paradox
Red wine is made by fermenting dark-colored, whole grapes. When consumed in reasonable amounts, it can help improve your overall health due to its high levels of antioxidants. According to some experts, red wine is responsible for the so-called “French paradox.”
This phrase refers to the fact that people who live in France have very low rates of heart disease, despite consuming a lot of saturated fat and cholesterol. Many health professionals believed that red wine protected the French from the harmful effects of these substances.
But, recent studies have found that saturated fat and dietary cholesterol won’t cause heart problems when consumed in moderate amounts. For that reason, now we also have a group of scientists who believe that the main reason behind the good health of the French is the fact that they eat more whole foods and live overall healthier lifestyles.
Despite these studies, there are still many people who believe that red wine is only relevant explanation for the “French paradox”
- Red Wine is Rich Powerful Plant Compounds and Antioxidants, Including Resveratrol
Grapes are full of several antioxidants, including resveratrol, catechin, epicatechin, and proanthocyanidins. It is believed that these antioxidants are responsible for most of the health benefits of red wine. For example, some recent studies have shown that proanthocyanidins may reduce oxidative damage in the body. In addition to this, they may also help prevent heart disease and even cancer.
Resveratrol, on the other hand, has also been linked with numerous health benefits, including fighting inflammation and blood clotting, as well as reducing the risk of heart disease and cancer.
- Resveratrol = Exercise?
According to a 2012 preliminary rat study, resveratrol is able to provide the same benefits for heart function and muscle strength as exercise. “Some of the benefits of regular exercise can also be mimicked by the naturally occurring polyphenol, resveratrol”, the researchers said.
But, the amount of resveratrol in red wine is low. You will need to drink several bottles of red wine per day to reach the amount of resveratrol used in the animal studies. For obvious reasons, this is something that is not recommended (1), (2), (3), (4).
The best way to increase the resveratrol content in your body is by taking supplements.
- Red Wine May Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease, Stroke and Early Death
According to one study, people who drink approximately 150 ml (5 oz) of red wine a day are at about 32% lower risk of developing heart disease when compared to non-drinkers. But on the other hand, people who are regularly drinking higher amounts of red wine are at much higher risk of heart disease.
Regular consumption of moderate amounts of red wine helps reduce the risk of heart disease by helping to retain the “good” HDL cholesterol in the blood. Oxidative damage and the oxidation of the “bad” LDL cholesterol may also be reduced by a whopping 50%.
Also, there are some studies which suggest that people who are at higher risk of heart disease, like the elderly, may benefit even more from regular consumption of moderate amounts of red wine.
Furthermore, middle-aged men who drink 1-3 glasses of red wine 3-4 days a week may also reduce the risk of stroke.
Also, numerous studies conducted in the last few decades have shown that moderate wine drinkers are at much lower risk of death from heart disease, compared to non-drinkers or beer and spirit drinkers.
- Other Health Benefits of Drinking Red Wine
Many studies have found that people who drink wine in moderation are at lower risk of several types of cancer, including colon, basal cell, ovary and prostate cancers.
Reduced risk of dementia:
One recent study has shown that people who drink 1-3 glasses of wine per day are at lower risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Reduced risk of depression:
One study involving middle-aged and elderly people has shown that those who consumed 3-7 glasses of red wine per week were less likely to become depressed.
Reduced risk of type 2 diabetes in women:
Regular consumption of moderate amounts of red wine reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes in women.
- Negative Health Effects of Drinking Too Much Alcohol
Although a moderate amount of wine can be good for your overall health, consuming too much alcohol can cause devastating health effects.
Some of the consequences that may occur as a result of excessive alcohol consumption include:
Regular alcohol consumption could potentially become out of control and lead to alcoholism.
People who consume 30 grams of alcohol (about 2–3 glasses of wine) each day are at higher risk of developing liver disease. End-stage liver disease, called cirrhosis, is life threatening.
Increased risk of depression:
Heavy drinkers are at a much higher risk of depression than moderate or non-drinkers.
Red wine contains twice the amount of calories as soft drinks and beer. As a result of that, excessive consumption of red wine could significantly increase your calorie intake and lead to weight gain.
Increased risk of diabetes:
Men who are drinking a lot of wine, even only 1-3 days per week, are at much higher risk of developing diabetes.
- Should You Drink Red Wine? If Yes, How Much?
Regular consumption of red wine won’t cause any harm to you unless you start exceeding the recommended amount. According to most experts, moderate red wine consumption is:
- 1–1.5 glasses a day for women.
- 1–2 glasses a day for men.
In addition to this, some health professionals also recommend having 1-2 alcohol-free days each week.
These recommendations refer to total alcohol intake. Drinking this amount of red wine in addition to other alcoholic beverages may put you in the range of excessive consumption.
Also, if you have a history of substance abuse, you should completely avoid all alcoholic beverages.